Mandatory Driver Education

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Mandatory Driver Education

Motor vehicle crashes cause over seven percent of teen deaths each year. Although this is true, according to Janet Adams, “Over the last decade, teen graduation from driver education classes has plunged from 100 percent to about 50 percent. During the same time period, injury accidents involving 16 to 19 year-olds have increased 55 percent.” Do these statistics reflect the removal of driver education from most school systems in Oklahoma? Oklahoma City is one of the few districts with a driver education program offered during the school year. Fees for these classes are $200 for in-district students and $250 for anyone living outside the district. In addition, driving sessions offered in the fall are conducted in the evening and on Saturdays, but no school credit is given. Although summer classes are offered, they are limited to 30 students each and sessions fill up quickly. Last year only 139 out of 458 students took the summer course. In summation, the safety of teenagers is affected when drivers’ training is not available. Therefore, driver education should be mandatory and offered at a low cost to high school students during the school year.

In 1987 the Legislature ended a 24-year practice of earmarking $1 from the sale of every car tag for driver education. (Lester, Jeff) This caused the death of free training to all high school students. At that time, $2.4 million was produced per year to fund driver education (“Driver Courses and Failures”). According to Janet Adams, a writer for the Daily Oklahoman: “schools still get the money but are no longer required to use it for driving instruction. School districts are able to divert the money to other areas as they choose. T...

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...o beginning drivers” (qtd. in Adams). Therefore, the lack of organized, instructional driver training affects the safety of the new driver and all others driving on the streets and highways or walking across the street. With this is mind, the next time a person gets into their car and buckles their seatbelt, they may be arming their self to meet an inexperienced driver who learned to drive by reading a driver manual long enough to pass a test.

Works Cited

Adams, Janet. “Driver Courses and Failures.” Daily Oklahoman 17 Mar. 2000: B2-3.

Lester, Jeff. “Driver’s Ed at a Critical Stage.” Driving 17 Feb. 1998: 16-36.

Newton, Josh. Help Teens Learn. New York: McGraw, 1999.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 1998: Young

Drivers. 5 Jan. 2000. TSA 9 Nov. 2000

www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/pdf/young98.pdf
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